Botched Execution Attempt in Idaho Renews Death Penalty Concerns


Last week, Idaho officials ended the attempted execution of Thomas Creech and returned him to his cell after the prison execution team unsuccessfully attempted to execute him for nearly an hour.

Beginning at 10 am on February 28, 2024, an execution team at Idaho Maximum Security Institution began sticking needles into Mr. Creech’s arms, legs, hands, and feet to execute him by lethal injection.

Thomas Creech

Three different members of the execution team attempted to establish IV access eight times through the use of vein finders, blood pressure cuffs, and hot compresses, while Mr. Creech—who is 73 years old and suffers from diabetes, hypertension, and edema—was strapped to the gurney and experiencing pain in his legs.

At 10:58 am, nearly an hour after the attempt began, the execution was halted and Mr. Creech was returned to his cell. The death warrant expired at 11:59 pm. The State said it will “consider next steps.”

Idaho’s execution protocol allows for the execution team to be made up entirely of volunteers. It also permits execution team members to have only three years of medical experience, and it does not require them to be doctors.

The State of Idaho did not reveal the identities of the team members nor did it disclose what, if any, training was conducted prior to the execution attempt. The execution team wore masks to conceal their identities.

Idaho is not the only state to recently botch an execution by lethal injection. In the four-year period between 2018 and 2022, Alabama botched one lethal injection execution and failed three attempted lethal injection executions.